How to Build a Pirate Ship
As entrepreneurs, your role is to build strong relationships, work the system, deliver value, and extract some value for yourselves. You go after goals. Pirates go after gold. Your goals include gold. Makes sense to me!
I came here to give you new some language to go with this.
Entrepreneurs are the ultimate pirates.
I’ll explain this in a moment.
I came here to fill your sails so you can fill your sales
And I came here to get three commitments from you!
If you’re not a pirate, you’re the Fleet
If you (entrepreneurs) are the Pirates, most companies are the Fleet.
The Fleet works on things like making sure the masts are all painted the same color. They work on making sure you’re dressed the right way, proper uniform, etc.
And the Fleet is a job.
- A job is a 9 to 5 in a 6×8 grey cubicle, as if the best place for production.
- A job thinks the best way to count your contribution is “butt plus chair in hours equals value.”
- A job is where grown ups go to be treated like a kid.
- A job is a unit of measurement.
In case I haven’t been clear, a job is bad, in this analogy.
Words are Software
Let’s do a quick talk about words.
Words are software your soul follows. What you say leads you to what you believe. You can never outperform what you believe. I know this sounds really sweet and woo woo, but I mean this in very practical and actionable ways.
Be very clear in the language you use. Your language drives your beliefs. With that in mind, how do you think NEGATIVE words do as motivators? Can you motivate yourself with negative words?
Here’s an example from a guy I actually admire a lot. Former Navy SEAL Richard “Mack” Machowicz runs a brand called:
Not Dead Can’t Quit
What do you think? Does that inspire you? You can see how it can be inspiring, kind of a “badass” way to think about it. But in general, negative words aren’t a great way to move your intentions along.
So with that in mind, let’s get back to our Pirate story. The Fleet is offering you a job.
We don’t do a job.
In the book Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield, 300 Spartan warriors are about to face off against King Xerxes and 10,000 warriors. On the night before the battle, King Leonidas is talking to his generals about what his men should do.
“War is work, not mystery. The king confined his instructions to the practical, prescribing actions which could be taken physically , rather than seeking to produce a state of mind, which he knew would evaporate as soon as the commanders dispersed beyond the fortifying light of the king’s fire.”
Remember that. War is work, not mystery. We’re here about work.
That’s why I surround myself with Navy SEALs and Olympic gold medalists and people who operate at the top of their game. I want people who value work, who treasure work, who know that you have to muscle your way out of the hole to succeed.
How to get more work done
You need to commit to your mission and to doing what will advance that. That’s what matters.(I help people build their missions and EXECUTE on them here.)
If your business were a pirate ship, mission is the mast. We can’t write out your mission during the session, but let’s agree that what drives you most, how you serve others best, and what you’re most committed to doing is what makes up your mission.
Here’s something to repeat all the time. Say it out loud, if you can:
My day is my week is my month is my year.
Commitment I want to hear from you: I will align my life and time with my mission and I will execute on my mission every day.
As a way of putting this into action, let’s move forward on how to accomplish some of this, how to take action on your mission.
- Work from your goal list, not your to do list
- Have a not-to-do list
- Set timers (like, a real one).
- Write out a list of “win day” criteria and hit it.
Mission is the Mast. Now, let’s talk about Service.
The best missions are missions of service. The best leaders are servants. Helping others is where we get our best success, isn’t it?
Cops have the motto “to protect and serve.” For you, your mission might be better told as connect and serve.
Service is what keeps your mission pointed in the right direction. If you choose to act strictly from the mindset of serving the people you have the pleasure to help, then you’ll almost always act from the right perspective and in the right order. Not lip service, mind you. I mean that it’s important and must be done.
If mission is the mast, service fills your sails.
All my money comes from serving others, all my success comes from serving.
Reebok made a huge push into serving the people who wear their shoes. Instead of reinvesting in expensive NFL contracts that intend to encourage people to buy shoes because some sports celebrity wears them, Reebok decided to work with CrossFit and Spartan Race to serve those communities. They asked the most important questions, like “How can we make shoes that make your events better? How can we provide shoes that you’ll want and treasure?” That’s service.
I had a great experience with Macy’s. Because one really nice woman spent a lot of time helping me pick out a sports coat, I now view Macy’s as a place that’s helpful. Just recently, I went to another Macy’s with my parents (they wanted to get me a few sweaters as a gift) and we had the same experience of amazing service. I believe that’s part of the DNA of how Macy’s trains their sales associates. Serve the customer. You’d think this is common. But in YOUR business, on your pirate ship, never forget that service fills your sails (sales!).
On the day I had the opportunity to meet and interview my personal hero, Sir Richard Branson, his very first sentence to me was, “Are you well?” And his second was “Anything I can do to help you?” That was right out of the gate. Talk about value! Talk about a mindset of service. His book about philanthropy talks about how he thinks ALL companies should blend service into their core business statements.
Want two easy questions to use to think more about service? When talking or connecting with other people, ask these questions, or at least think about them whenever appropriate:
- How can I help?
- Who do I know?
Here’s your second of two commitments. I want you to consider this:
I commit to make every day about service.
The 5×5 plan is part of my Owner’s Heart course. You can create your own very easily. This is a daily practice. You write down 5 circles (I’ll explain these in a moment) and then 5 actions to take per circle. These are the people you serve, starting with yourself. To make this 5, I split the first circle into two parts. (It’ll make sense. Trust me.)
Circle 1: Mind and Spirit
Circle 1: Body and Belly
Circle 2: The people you most love
Circle 3: Your mentors and those you mentor (for free!)
Circle 4: Your clients
So, write down 5 actionable efforts you’ll perform every day for each of those five circles.
Circle 1 (Mind/Spirit) – pray, meditate, reflect on yesterday’s work, read 10 pages of a book, read and say affirmations
Circle 1 (Body/Belly) – gym today, greens and protein today, all 8 liters of water(!), cardio later in the day, yoga(?)
Circle 2 (Closest People) – call mom and thank her, make sure to be supportive to Jacq, take the kids to Big Hero 6 (again!), make sure Jacq’s mom has what she needs, ask about a vacation next year.
Circle 3 (Mentors and those you mentor) – Call Carey to check in, Check in w/Charlie G, Share 5×5 w/Jake, Post in your FB groups, write 3 Amazon book reviews for friends.
Circle 4 (Your clients) – this switches over to your systems stuff. Your work. But whatever goes outside the system.
So that’s how you’ll work on service. Through the 5×5 plan. Put your own mask on first, but then serve everyone daily. In that order. I know it looks tricky, especially when you’re starving for sales. Just know that this is built this way for a reason.
Mission is the mast
Service fills the sails
But Chris hasn’t talked about social media. Isn’t that his thing?
Content. You’re hearing lots about it. It means media created to sell, but not pure advertising and not pure storytelling. I love to say that content marketing is weaponized storytelling. The point is that content is built to serve and that it serves the community and you.
When I met with Disney’s Bob Iger, he asked me about how blogs and photos and video and all that would help the parks and cruises part of the business, for instance. When I did some work with Sony (electronics division), we launched the Sony Summer of Dads, which was a bunch of projects with dads and their kids to create media with their products.
Content marketing is what separates the Spartan Race from the Color Run. The story of what it means to be a Spartan goes deep and incorporates itself into the people running, such that it pushes you forward to consider even more races. It draws on the legendary Spartans of King Leonidas that we talked about before.
Related, that’s why people pay $140 a month to go to CrossFit instead of $10 a month to go to other gyms. Content drives our beliefs, our passions, our emotions, and ultimately, our decisions.
Mission is the Mast
Service fills the Sails
Content is the Drumbeat that tells the story
But what do you talk about?
Your story? Never! Not exactly. Whenever you tell your story, use it as the entrypoint. Use it as a way to help people connect to something that can be theirs.
It’s never as fun to hear your story as it is to hear OUR story.
What is this mythical content? What should it be? This relates to stuff like blog posts, Instagram, Facebook posts, Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter, newsletters, podcasts, etc.
What’s the sign of good content?
- It’s helpful
- It’s inclusive
- It’s simple and brief
So I need another commitment from you. Say this:
I commit to making content that fuels my mission and helps the people I serve.
Takeaway Three: Content creation checklist
When creating your content (blog posts or what not), ask yourself the following questions:
- Does this fit my mission?
- Does this serve the people I have the pleasure to serve?
- Is this helpful?
- Is it brief?
- Is there a call to action of any kind?
- Is it worth it?
And then, for just a bit more advice:
Blog posts: no more than 300 words (FYI, I offer a Blogging course).
Instagram: you can post 2-3 posts a day, if that helps, especially if your project is visual. Pinterest, make all you want.
Facebook: it’s a lot trickier to work here lately, especially if you have a business page. It’s less and less visible without paying for ads to strengthen it. Should you USE Facebook? Hard to know. Maybe not like an advertiser.
Newsletters: I get 70% of my revenue from newsletters. Will you? It depends how you use them. Check out mine, if you want a template.
Podcasts: These are great as a lead generation tool. Are they hard to put together? Not as hard as it used to be. I recommend Podcast Answer Man as a great way to start.
So, let’s recap.
Mission is the mast
Service fills the sails
Content is the drumbeat that tells the story
I am Chris Brogan, if you want to learn more.
If this was helpful and if you enjoyed speaking with me, please consider signing up to my free newsletter. You can hit reply any time and talk directly with me.
Thanks again for your time and your help! I’d love to help however I can. My company is Owner Media Group. I’m Represented by Reed Bilbray in this space. I’m thrilled to be helpful in any way possible.